Martial arts crazes come and go, and the new craze seems to be Krav Maga. Krav Maga is an Israeli self-defense system that has gained popularity all over the globe in a matter of just a few years. The real question is: is it effective?
Just as with any martial art, just about anything can be made "effective". Krav Maga was originally a form of "street MMA", an attempted precursor to JKD, by which it tried to take effective techniques from all arts and unite them under one banner. This was adapted by the Israeli army in the 50's and is used to this date. However, the fascination with "Krav Maga techniques" is ill-founded, as the attacks, strikes, and defenses are cobbled together from other martial arts. The knife attack and defense techniques in Krav Maga can almost all be found in older military manuals from World War 2 and the conflicts afterwards. Many techniques are taken straight from Taekwondo and Karate "one step" or "reaction" sparring drills. What does all of this mean? It means that Krav Maga has all the necessary tools to become an effective martial art, with the proper training. Regarding the nature of Krav Maga's "no nonsense" self defense attitude, this means that the proper training would most likely be military training.
The civilian world can't offer this kind of training, due to a combination of potential law suits and a general lack of perserverence and willingness. So what is being seen more and more often? Quite similar to the McDojo-ization of Taekwondo, Krav Maga is undergoing a "dumbing down". Businesses have made millions on selling Krav Maga as an effective method of self-defense while offering poor instruction, opponents that don't resist, and no full contact sparring. Millions more have been made selling it as a cardio workout program to overweight soccor moms and bored white-collar workers.
However, when regarding "true" Krav Maga, ineffective methods and practices also exist. Many gun defenses are downright suicidal. Having techniques that are "too dangerous to use in a sparring situation" are highly suspect in the first place and simply aren't practiced, such as fishhooks. This is why Krav Maga is only practiced in U.S Army branches that are unlikely to see hand-to-hand combat, while a seperate system is taught to the U:S Army and Marines. The argument that "if the Israeli Army uses it, it must be effective" is very poor when one considers that the Israeli state would have collapsed numerous times without U.S military funding and intelligence.
All in all, Krav Maga has potential. Is it quite there yet? Not by a long shot. It has yet to constistently prove itself in the ring. Is there hope? We will see.